Thinking it’s best for him to know what’s going on, and hoping that he’ll calm her down, Vicki called Nick and told him about her latest conversation with Victor.
“I can see why you’re worried. This isn’t like Dad at all! But, you know him, he’ll be just fine. He probably got himself too worked up, that’s all. He’s always yelling at people for one thing or another. Only this time he got a little too worked up, simple as that.” Nick tried his best to keep her calm.
“No, Nick, it’s more than that. Think about. When was the last time you ever saw Dad out of breath, in serious pain because of it?” Vicki persisted, knowing she was right.
“Well, never,” Nick replied honestly.
“That’s my point! Something is very, very wrong here! I just wish I knew what it was!” Vicki exclaimed frustrated.
“Would it make you feel better if I talked to him?”
“Okay, I’ll let you know how it goes.” With that, Nick headed for Victor’s office.
Victor sat behind his desk and listened as his son asked about his health and what had happened when he’d gone to visit Victoria earlier.
“Dad, Victoria is worried about you, and so am I. It’s not like you to be out of breath or in pain, even when you get worked up. What’s going on?”
“My boy, there’s nothing for you to worry about, I’m fine. I worked out at the gym before I came to work. I must’ve worked out a little harder than I should’ve.” Victor knew that was a lame excuse but couldn’t think of any other excuse to use.
“Okay, first you told Vicki you were in pain because you took the stairs to her office instead of the elevator, now you’re telling me it’s because you worked out too hard. Come on, Dad, you know I don’t buy that. What’s really going on?” Nick asked skeptically, determinedly.
Meanwhile, in Vicki’s office, she’d decided to call Nikki with news about her latest conversation with her father and all that had happened during it.
“What? I can’t believe this! He’s keeping something from us. It’s one thing to play these kind of games when it comes to the company, that’s fine. But, not when it comes to his health, he needs to learn he can’t do this when it comes to his health! What is it going to take for him to realize that?!” Nikki asked angrily. “I’ll be right there.” With that, she grabbed her purse and headed out the door, intent on getting to the bottom of whatever was going on.
As Nikki entered her office, Victoria began to question the wisdom of calling her in the first place. ‘She looks like she’s ready to kill Dad!’
“Victoria, you were right to call me. Your father is hiding something, and it’s up to us to find out what it is before it’s goo late.” Nikki tried her best to keep calm.
Victoria had seen that look in her mom’s eyes before, it was obvious she wouldn’t be deterred.
Victoria silently nodded.
“How did he seem?” Nikki asked, listening intently. She was starting to put everything together, and she wasn’t happy! ‘What the hell is he hiding? He knows his health is important, and that if something’s going on I damn well have a right to know!’ Nikki asked herself, incensed.
“Like I said, he was short of breath and he was having trouble focussing on our conversation. He looked like he was in a lot of pain too, at one point, but then it went away. I tried to get details, but you know how that goes.”
“Yeah, he makes up excuses and when that doesn’t work, he loses his temper and tells you to drop it,” Nikki bit out frustrated. “I can’t say I’m surprised, he’s consistent if nothing else.”
Vicki tried her best to hide her smile.
The next thing she knew, Nikki was getting up and heading out the door. “Thanks for telling me what’s going on. I’ll see you at home.”
“Bye, and good luck,” Vicki replied, knowing full well where her mother was headed.
Rather than knocking before she entered, Nikki walked right into Victor’s office.
“Well, this is a pleasant surprise,” Victor greeted her with a smile.
“Yeah, well, I just came from Victoria’s office, I thought I’d pass by here.”
“I’m glad you did. A visit from you is exactly what I need today.”
“Oh really, any particular reason?” Nikki asked, hoping he’d tell her what she wanted to know on his own and without any prodding.
“No, just needed a break that’s all,” Victor replied.
“Okay, enough games, Victoria told me everything.”
“What do you mean?” Victor asked, hoping she wasn’t referring to his being short of breath and having chest pains earlier.
“What do you think I mean? Victor, why were you short of breath when you met with Victoria earlier? What was going on? Why were you having trouble concentrating on the conversation, and why were you in pain?” Nikki peppered him with questions, determined to get answers, no matter what she had to do to accomplish that.
“I took the stairs to her office and I worked out before I came here. I was a little more tired than I realized, I guess I’m a little more out of shape than I thought.” Victor hoped, against his better judgement that she wouldn’t press him for any more information. ‘The last thing either of us needs is for her to be digging for information. She needs to keep calm and avoid stress, she can’t do that if she’s fussing over me. Besides that, there’s nothing she can do, assuming there’s anything seriously wrong,’ Victor reasoned. ‘I know I should tell her about this, but I don’t want to worry her unnecessarily. It could turn out to be nothing. I don’t want to put her through that kind of pain.’ He could scarcely ignore the tug-of-war going on inside him, as he considered the implications of keeping this secret.
“Uh huh, Victor, neither one of us is dumb, so cut the act! You took the elevator, like you always do; not the stairs! And, in all the years I’ve known you, in all the years you’ve ran, played soccer, boxed, you’ve never, ever once been out of breath let alone out of shape! So, tell me what’s going on, ‘cause I’m not leaving until you do!”
“There’s a first time for everything!” Victor angrily countered!
“Give me a break! I want to know what’s going on, Victor, and I want to know now!”
“There’s nothing going on, alright?!” Victor hollered.
“Yeah? I’m not buying.”
“Why the hell not? I don’t understand why you’re looking for trouble here, there’s nothing going on that you need to worry about!”
“Why do I find that hard to believe?”
“Because you’re allowing yourself to be brainwashed by our children. That’s why.”
Nikki’s eyes narrowed into slits and her voice went ice cold. “Not the way to get me to leave this alone, Victor, not the way to do that at all.”
“Nikki, drop this, alright? You’re getting yourself worked up over nothing!”
“Am I? Somehow I don’t think so!”
Meanwhile, in Victoria’s office, she was just about to leave for the day when she got a phone call. “What do you want, Jeff?”
“Have you come to your senses yet?”
“About what?” Vicki asked disinterestedly.
“My job,” he returned tightly.
“Does it sound that way?” she asked angrily.”That’s too bad. You had your chance.” His voice held a cold, sinister edge.
“What are you talking about?” Vicki asked confused and very unimpressed with his little game.
“You could’ve stopped this whole thing, but now…well, you’ll find out.”